A sculpture completed in May 2006
Conformity is uniformity. Societies embrace conformity to varying degrees as a necessary component of their organization and structural agenda. Unquestionably some conformity is required for their/our survival. Indeed the uniform application of any number of societal parameters assures us that normalcy (uniformity) as we envision it will continue.
Conformity is monotonously legible.
I have presented in this work an example of contemporary societal conformity, which currently finds favor among many women in our culture. The stony forms get their shape not from humans but from forming machines. These new fashion “appliances”, when worn, present a distinct uniformity that is unobtrusively acceptable to the wearer and the viewer. The individuality of the female form once presented visa vie their breasts is, for now, a thing of the past much like other artifacts of life on earth.
I have been told that it is the appearance of the nipple, which is undesirable in the particular. This image so necessary at the outset of life is , as time goes on, considered vulgar. This is, at least in part, what the “appliance” reportedly addresses for we have here idealized shielding forms made symmetrical with industrial design precision. A new golden mean whose formula is the real Secret of Victoria. No individual bullets here, just the un-natural perfection of identical twins.
Consider this an icon of our time. Cloning is upon us and its broader application seen often and in the most unlikely of places. We are told that politically, if you are not for us then you are against us (but please do not touch). If your dream conflicts with ours then return home where you can be among others of your kind. If you have a deity (and you should) and if he, she or it isn’t the same as ours then dispatch the infidels by whatever means. Perfection is part and parcel of stylized form. Stylized form can be easily and economically reproduced. But in all fairness so too can stylized form be unique, poetic and precious if considered with a reverence for individuality. The potential concept of duality here is only for those of suspected and suspicious higher learning. Liberal thinking no doubt.
We believe we live in an unusual time where individual rights and the expressions of those rights are being challenged by governments, religions and even by our neighbors. But one has only to reflect upon the time of Socrates to realize that this challenge has always been the case.
Fortunately there are those who will never claim sameness as their savior for they believe it is the diversity of life that makes human existence worthwhile. Embracing change and differences has never been easy. There is indeed a non-conformist nature imbedded deep in the soul of our species, which most inconveniently for the conformists seeks repeated creative expression. It is like cosmic goo. No matter how fervently the conformity zealots promote their platforms of uniformity we continue to revere and celebrate the uniqueness of the individual.
With the repetition of these identical brassieres I have chosen and promoted a gently provocative if not unlikely symbol of uniformity so as to illustrate the many aspects of how conformity affects us. Conformity is, by nature, a limiting option that is against nature. Life as we know it or perhaps as nature intended it is about diversity. We in particular have chosen to value the freedom of individual expression and are willing to ask others to pay the ultimate sacrifice for it. Conformity is the opposite of individuality. Conformity is a form of nostalgia. Like nostalgia, conformity is a dangerous mistress that is alluring and all too convenient. It is eminently worthwhile to look at the places in our lives where conformity and individuality conflict and in that middle ground never cease to consider the value and occasional beauty of each.
Conformity is monotonously legible